Matthew 1:18-19 - Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
I think it's interesting that God put off talking to Joseph until Joseph had already made up his mind what to do. How easy to have an angel swoop in at the moment of truth, when Joseph realized Mary was pregnant—to step between the two of them and say, "Joe, bud, you've got it all wrong, no need to worry." But God didn't do that. Apparently, Joseph went home from whatever disastrous meeting told him the truth, thought it over, and finally, finally lay down to sleep. At which point, God sent the angel to tell him the good news.
Why not tell him earlier? I don't know—perhaps because it gives us a really clear look at what kind of man Joseph was? From Joseph's reaction, I think it's fair to say that he is a man who gets upset, but doesn't immediately blast everyone around him with his feelings. Instead, he can think things over, and he is able to show compassion, even for people who do him wrong. Those are great characteristics for a man who will become the foster-father of Jesus Himself.
Crisis tends to bring out the truth in us as well. Who has not been surprised by the things we find coming out of our mouths under extreme stress?
We are not always wise, kind, compassionate people. All the greater is our need for a wise, kind, compassionate Savior—our Lord Jesus. Though we definitely did Him wrong, leaving Him for a set of idols ranging from money to power to honor and prestige, He has not left us. He has not decided to divorce us, even quietly. Instead, He has called us to Himself through Baptism and His Holy Spirit, making us His own dearly loved people. When we stray, He brings us back. We will be His own forever.
THE PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, that You call us back to Yourself, again and again, because You love us. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
The Coming King REFLECTION QUESTIONS!
When did you get bad news and have to make a decision? Was it easy or hard to do so?
When was a time when you were at someone else's mercy—and they showed compassion to you?
If you're willing to talk about it, in what area of your life are you most in need of God's patient compassion right now?
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